Liberty softball concluded their domination of the ASUN during the 2022 season with a perfect 3-0 record in the ASUN Tournament, with two wins coming by the run-rule, as the Lady Flames secured the conference’s automatic bid to NCAA Regional play. Liberty finished the regular season with an impressive 23-1 in conference play.

The Flames (43-16) were named the No. 3 seed in the Durham Regional this weekend, hosted by the No. 12 overall seed Duke Blue Devils (41-8). Joining Liberty and Duke in Durham this weekend for the opening round of the NCAA softball tournament are No. 2 seed Georgia (40-16) and No. 4 seed UMBC (30-10).

Liberty opens double-elimination regional play with Georgia on Friday at noon at Duke Softball Stadium in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. The Blue Devils and Retrievers will follow at approximately 2:30 p.m. on ESPN+. The winners will then play in the early game on Saturday and the losers will square off Saturday afternoon.

Liberty will be facing Georgia for the first time in program history. Georgia is the only SEC team that Liberty has never faced in softball.

The Lady Flames defeated then No. 9 Duke on April 20 at Liberty Softball Stadium. Liberty broke a 3-3 tie with a five-run sixth inning, snapping No. 9 Duke’s 11-game winning streak with an 8-3 win. Liberty is 2-1 all-time against Duke in softball.

Liberty is 12-10 versus UMBC, including 0-1 against the Retrievers in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship (2002).

The Lady Flames have gone 29-4 in their last 33 games after starting the season at 14-12. Liberty is one of six NCAA Division I softball programs to win 40 or more games each of the last five full seasons, joining Florida, Florida, State, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and UCLA.

This will be Liberty’s fifth appearance all-time in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship and second in a row. Competing in the NCAA Softball Championship for the fourth time, Liberty made its second appearance in a Regional final in 2021. The Lady Flames served as the No. 2 seed for the Knoxville Regional, eliminating Eastern Kentucky and the host No. 9 national seed Tennessee Lady Vols. Liberty fell to eventual Women’s College World Series semifinalist James Madison twice at the Regional.

The Lady Flames went 4-12 against teams who qualified for the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championship, including a win over national seed Duke, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Lehigh. Liberty posted a 2-10 record against Top 25 teams, defeating then No. 23 Notre Dame on March 5 before topping No. 9 Duke 8-3 on April 20.

No. 18 Georgia is making its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and looking to make a run to its sixth Women’s College World Series. The Bulldogs hold a 74-41 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and have advanced to 11 Super Regional in the history of the program.

Tony Baldwin is in his first year as head coach of the Bulldogs after serving on staff for nine seasons before being promoted to head coach. Georgia is coming off a 2021 season where they advanced to the Women’s College World Series and defeated Duke twice to eliminate the Blue Devils and advance to the Super Regionals. The Bulldogs swept Florida in two games to reach the WCWS where they would drop its first two games to #5 Oklahoma State and #1 Oklahoma.

Georgia is led by three first-team All-SEC selections in Sara Mosley, Jayda Kearney, and Lacey Fincher. Their potent lineup features six players with at least nine home runs durin the season. Mosley leads the team with 17 home runs and a .430 batting average while Fincher has 16 home runs and Kearney has 15.

Madison Kerpics is the ace of the Georgia staff, having posted an 18-9 record this season with three saves. She has a 3.23 ERA in 37 appearances while making 22 starts. Kerpics has pitched 13 complete games and 2 shutouts. In 160.1 innings pitched, she has struck out 159 and walked 84.

The Bulldogs feature three other pitchers that all have at least 19 appearances and 11 starts each with ERAs ranging from 4.61-4.79.

Duke has been selected to compete in the NCAA Championship for the second time in program history and second consecutive year. Last season, the Blue Devils earned wins over UNC Greensboro and Western Kentucky during the regional before falling to Georgia in Athens. This year marks the first time Duke has ever hosted a regional.

The Blue Devils have recorded their first 40 win regular season in program history. They also set new single season offensive records in hits, home runs, RBI, runs scored, and total bases. Six different Blue Devils took home all-ACC honors including Jameson Kavel and Peyton St. George who were named to the first team.

UMBC advanced to regionals as winners of the America East where the Retrievers have won the championship the past three seasons. America East Most Outstanding Player Courtney Coppersmith threw a one-hit shutout in the title game with a 4-0 victory over Albany. UMBC did not allow a run in their three conference tournament games, becoming the first team in America East Tournament history to do so, after posting 1-0 victories over Binghamton and Albany.

Below is the full schedule for the Durham Regional, including times which are all Eastern:

Friday, May 20

Game 1: (2) Georgia (40-16) vs (3) Liberty (43-16), Noon (ESPNU)
Game 2: (1) Duke (41-8) vs (4) UMBC (30-10), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

Saturday, May 21

Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 2, 3:30 p.m.
Game 5: Winner Game 4 vs Loser Game 3, 6 p.m.

Sunday, May 22

Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5, 2 p.m.
Game 7: Winner Game 6 vs Loser Game 6, 4:30 p.m. (if necessary)

You can find the full bracket here.

The winners of the regional round advance to the Super Regionals. That’s a best-of-e format with the top eight seeds set up to host, if they advance. The winner of the Durham Regional will meet up with the winner of the Los Angeles Regional for the Super Regional next week. The Los Angeles Regional consists of (1) UCLA, (2) Ole Miss, (3) LMU, and (4) Grand Canyon. The Bruins are the No. 5 national seed.